Beijing - Trade between China and Africa continued to register positive growth estimated at $91 billion last year, despite the negative effect of the global recession a top Chinese official has said.
While the figure is slightly lower than $106.8billion registered in 2008, China says it is optimistic that trade will continue to grow with increasing economic cooperation between the two trade partners.
“Since 2000 the two sides have established a new type of strategic partnership featuring political equality, mutual trust and economic win-win cooperation,” said Zhang Yongpeng, the Deputy Director, Office of International Relations at Institute for West Asian and African Studies (IWAAS).
Yongpeng who is also a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences was speaking at ongoing seminar in Beijing organized for news media workers from African countries about China-Africa relations.
According to the official, the China- Africa economic relations are now focused on promoting investment, trade and labour contract between the two sides.
Since 2000, trade between the two sides has surged over the years from approximately $10 billion to $73.3 billion in 2007 registering a year-on-year increase of 32.2 percent.
In 2008 it soared by 44.1percent to reach a record high of $ 106.84 billion, registering a year-on-year increase of 45.1 percent.
While by the end of 2008 labour-contracted projects accounted for $39.44 billion, 10 times that of 2000.
“These are key elements of development. It is only through these ways that African countries can make use of their resources.
Aid is only a small fraction of African development,” told African journalists on Wednesday.
Yongpeng argued that the contribution rate of China-Africa trade to Africa’s development is by 20 percent.
Under the Africa- China development fund which brings about $2 billion from the Chinese enterprises, the official said 20 projects worth $400 million were invested by the end of 2008.
“The total amount will reach $5 billion in the coming three years. China’s aid to, investment in and debt relief for Africa has become an important composition of African development,” he observed.
Yongpeng also noted that China’s direct investment in Africa has steadily flourished over the years, increasing by 53 percent from $50 million in 2001 to nearly $1 billion by the end of 2008.
“The major issue for Africa now is developing its manufacturing sector.” he said.
Last year during the fourth ministerial conference of the Forum on China – Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), China pledged $10 billion in concessional loans to African countries. This is in addition to setting up a $1 billion special loan for small and medium sized African business.